Inherited mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 lead to significantly increased risks of breast and ovarian cancer. We used epidemiologic methods to evaluate the relative risks of breast cancer vs. ovarian cancer among women of Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry with inherited mutations in BRCA1 or BRCA2. The cancer of a family's index case (i.e., breast cancer vs. ovarian cancer) was significantly associated with site-specific risks of cancer in relatives known to carry mutations in BRCA1 or BRCA2. Specifically, breast cancer risks were higher among relatives of breast cancer index cases compared with relatives of ovarian cancer index cases [hazard ratio (HR) = 3.0, P < 0.001 for BRCA1 carriers and HR = 4.8, P = 0.017 for BRCA2 carriers], and ovarian cancer risks were higher among relatives of ovarian cancer index cases compared with relatives of breast cancer index cases (HR = 7.2, P = 0.001 for BRCA1 carriers and HR = 15.8, P = 0.018 for BRCA2 carriers). Breast and ovarian cancer risks also increased with more recent year of birth. For each later decade of birth, risk increased 1.2-fold (P = 0.03). Effects of cancer site of the index case and of birth cohort were independent. These results suggest that both genetic and nongenetic factors modify cancer risks among BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers, and that genetic modifiers and other familial factors may influence risk specifically for either breast or ovarian cancer.